Friday, December 21, 2007

God the Gardener

John 15.1-2: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will become even more fruitful.

Why? Why do we see people who love the Lord all of a sudden or over time just stop serving? Why are there no kingdom priorities in their life? On the other hand, why do God's people go through such great difficulties? They may ask, "Why is my life so difficult? Does God love me? Does He see my pain?"

Jesus answers those two questions in John 15.1-2. Jesus uses a picture of a vine and a Gardener and explains in a way that cannot be misunderstood. If you do not have a life that is bearing fruit for God, then you will be cut off. They will not care because they have already stopped bearing fruit. Pangs of guilt may arise once and a while but on the whole being cut off is really not a deep concern because they have already cut themselves off from God.

But the life of a true believer is different. They are bearing fruit as they live in Christ and for Christ. The difficult matter for the believer is that God knows that with some pruning, they can bear more fruit. So God steps up to the believer and begins to shape and mold and cut so that they become even more fruitful. This wise Gardener knows where to cut and how much to trim so that the vine will produce quality fruit.

This means at least two things. First, it is exciting to know that every believer will bear fruit. There is no one who is able to say that they are of no consequence in the kingdom of God. Part of your privilege as a child of God is to bear fruit for God as you serve him in your sphere of life. Second, this can be a painful process. That is why at times the believer is left wondering about God's activities. Why Lord? Well, the answer may be that some pruning is being done so you can bear even more fruit in His kingdom.